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Real Madrid boss Ancelotti’s pre-Real Sociedad press conference: Modric, Giannis...

Ahead of Tuesday’s LaLiga clash at Real Sociedad, Carlo Ancelotti praised Giannis Antetokounmpo’s recent comments and was upbeat on Luka Modric’s fitness.

Ahead of Tuesday’s LaLiga clash with Real Sociedad, Carlo Ancelotti praised Giannis Antetokounmpo’s recent comments and was upbeat on Luka Modric’s fitness.
Sergio PérezEFE

Real Sociedad clash:

“Tomorrow will be a real test, because Real Sociedad are a fantastic team. We have players out injured and suspended, so it’ll be tough one. And then there’s the kick-off time [10pm on a Tuesday], which doesn’t make any sense. But we’re going to go out there and give it everything we’ve got.”

Are Militão and Valverde out?

“Éder Militão is fine. He’s had a personal issue and arrived for training with the session already underway, but that’s all. We’ll have to assess what Fede Valverde has. We’ll see. David Alaba isn’t available, either. He trained with ball at feet for the first time today. And we’ll see about Luka Modric: we’ve had good news, and he could be back in time for [the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna on] Saturday.”

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Signing a ‘new Benzema’:

Signing a centre-forward ought to be in the club’s plans, because Karim isn’t getting any younger. But right now, although he’s had his ups and downs, he’s looking good. And we’ve got Rodrygo, Vinícius Júnior, Marco Asensio… the forward line hasn’t been a problem these past two years.”

Will Benzema start against Real Sociedad?

“He could do. He was a bit tired today, but if he’s OK, he may well start. Tomorrow I’ll only rotate where it’s clear that a change has to be made. We’ll have time to recover before Saturday.”

So you won’t be giving fringe players a run-out in San Sebastián, then?

“I’ll pick the best team possible. If they’re in it, then they’ll play.”

Have you had to convince Toni Kroos to play at anchorman?

“Toni likes to play; it doesn’t matter to him where. In some games you need an anchorman with greater physical stature and in others, one with his characteristics. He has no problem playing there - I don’t have to persuade him. And he really helps us when we bring the ball out from the back.”

Would it be more accurate to say Barcelona have won LaLiga, or Madrid have lost it?

I always give credit to my opponents. Barcelona have picked up a lot of points and deserve credit for that.”

Vinícius serves a ban for accumulated bookings tomorrow. Would a red card teach him to stop arguing with referees so much?

“No, no! With all the yellow cards he gets, that’s quite enough. A red card - that’s all he needs!

Do you agree with Giannis Antetokounmpo that elimination is not failure but “steps to success”?

I think he’s absolutely spot on and I don’t have anything to add to what he said. I agree with it 100%. In sport - and in life - people shouldn’t talk about failure. Failing is when you don’t try as hard as you can. If you’ve given everything you’ve got and can have a clear conscience, then the word ‘failure’ shouldn’t come into it. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t.”

Brazil have set a deadline of 25 May to choose a new national coach - so would you say they have to cross you off their shortlist?

“I’ve already said that I’m not going to talk about my future. But look, I’ll give you an answer: there’s very little point in us talking about a deadline, because I’ve never spoken to anyone.”

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